House proposes $1.8M increase in arts and cultural funding

BOSTON, April 14, 2021—Today, the House Ways and Means Committee recommended funding the Mass Cultural Council at $20 million, which would be a $1.8 million increase over last year’s budget. It would also be the largest public investment in the arts and cultural sector by the state since Fiscal Year 2002 when the state allocated $23.9 million to the Mass Cultural Council. MASSCreative Executive Director Emily Ruddock issued the following statement in response:

“We are incredibly grateful to House Speaker Ron Mariano, House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, and Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee House Chair Carole Fiola for their leadership in both recognizing and responding to the dire need of arts and cultural organizations and artists throughout Massachusetts.  

“Since March 2020 and the pandemic-related closure of our museums and stages and the cancellation of musical performances, plays, and other live performances, nearly 900 arts and cultural nonprofit organizations—which represent a sliver of the state’s creative economy—have reported $588.3 million in pandemic-related losses. Individual creative workers in Massachusetts lost over $30 million during that same time. Organizations led by Black Indigenous, and People of Color have been especially hard hit.

“The state’s ultimate economic recovery from the pandemic will be tied to the health of these organizations as they drive the state’s tourism industry as well as economic activity in our local neighborhoods. Before the pandemic, arts and cultural nonprofits generated over $2.3 billion in spending, brought in nearly $100 million in state tax revenues, and supported more than 73,000 full time jobs.

“The mental, emotional, and spiritual health of our communities is also tied to the health of arts and cultural organizations, which have found creative ways to keep people connected over the past year. They have offered virtual performances at no cost, outdoor performances, and free music, dance, and theatre instruction via Zoom for vulnerable youth.

This public investment in arts and culture is also an investment in ensuring full public access and representation in art, as the Mass Cultural Council prioritizes grant-making across diverse racial, linguistic, ethic, socioeconomic, and geographic communities.

“As we come out of the pandemic, we are going to need every tool at our disposal to revive the economy, bring people together again, and proactively work for racial equity. The arts and cultural sector will be central to these efforts. We applaud House leadership for ensuring that our artists and arts and cultural organizations will have the support they need.”

About MASSCreative

MASSCreative works with artists, cultural councils, arts organizations and the broader creative community to build a Commonwealth where arts and creativity are an expected, recognized, and valued part of everyday life. Working with our coalition of 400 arts and cultural organizations and artists from across the Commonwealth, MASSCreative uses public education and awareness, grassroots organizing, advocacy campaigns, and other civic and political engagement to ensure that arts, culture, and creativity are considered when important policy and political decisions get made at the state and local level.

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published this page in Press 2021-04-14 15:23:09 -0400

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